ROME — In the opening cermonies of the Sixth IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention here last night, Elly Katabira, the international conference chair and current president of the International AIDS Society, decried the continuing imprisonment of Arash Alaei, one of the two Iranian physician-brothers who won the Global Health Council’s Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights at our annual conference last month.
“We, at the IAS, consider human rights for HIV professionals as one of our priorities. This is why I could not be addressing you tonight and not mention our friend doctor Arash Alaei, who has been detained in Iran since June 2008, for the only reason that he was trying to treat HIV-positive people in his home-country. There is no reason why HIV professionals around the world should be in prison only for doing their job, and we, all of us, demand his immediate release from prison.”
The other brother, Dr. Kamiar Alaei, released in October 2010, is here at the conference and will speak at two events on Tuesday — a satellite event organized by the Council and a press conference organized by Physicians for Human Rights where he will call for the release of his brother.
Physicians for Human Rights is planning a global day of action on July 19. They are asking people to sign a petition asking the Islamic Republic of Iran to release Dr. Arash immediately and have set up a website to facilitate that petitition.
The Lancet published this profile of the brothers this week.
The New York Times published this profile of the brothers after they received the Jonathan Mann Award.